Striking lifeguards shouldn’t put tourists’ lives at risk: Goa CM

Panaji, Dec 31 (IANS) With the indefinite strike by Goa’s privately-employed lifeguards continuing for the third day on Thursday, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar asked the protestors to join work and not put the lives of beach-going tourists at risk.

“There are so many tourists who come to Goa at this time of the year because they think Goa is a safe and beautiful place. By going on strike, they should not be putting the lives of tourists at risk,” Parsekar told reporters in Panaji.

The state government on Tuesday invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), even as over 600 lifeguards posted on Goa’s beaches, popular with tourists at this time of the year, went on an indefinite strike on Tuesday demanding regularisation of their services.

The indefinite strike was called by over 600 lifeguards, employed by a private beach management agency engaged by the Goa tourism ministry.

The Goa coastline, stretching over 100 km, boasts of some spectacular beaches which are popular with tourists.

Over the last few years, since private beach management agencies have been recruited by the tourism authorities, lives of several hundred tourists have been saved along Goa’s busy beaches.

Parsekar also said there was not much his office could do to redress the labour issue, for which the appropriate forum was the labour court.

“It is a dispute between the employees and the private agency. In Goa, everyone wants the chief minister to directly solve problems. But the lifeguards should not hold a government to ransom at a critical time in order to further their agenda,” he said.

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